Heat Fears

Aklright, thanks to a bunch of you, I went ut and bought a new PC a while ago. All seems to be going swimmingly, but I realized I have a major concern today.

My apartment gets hot. Really hot. Like, the thermostat reads 86 right now kind of hot. And while I have air conditioning, I'm on a budget, and I'm trying to keep the bills from turning into massive monsters during the summer.

I'm wondering if anyone has any tips, ideas for how to keep my PC cool while I'm living in a hot apartment this summer. Should I just bit the bullet and turn on the AC while I'm home for the PC's sake? Or will it be okay in the heat, as long as I'm not asking it to do all that much?

I don't have A/C and am much farther south in a river valley area that always has high humidity. My PC's are usually a fan or two heavier on the cooling than they might be in an air conditioned place, but they soldier through just fine. And keep in mind I O/C pretty much all my CPU's and have been running dual videocard setups for years.

Just keep air moving and you should be fine.

if you're that worried, add a fan or open the side and point one of those small desk fans into it. I've got 5 PCs in my garage that consistently gets into the 90's during the summer and haven't had issues.

Or will it be okay in the heat, as long as I'm not asking it to do all that much?

Well, remember that the CPU won't self-throttle until about 90C, which is 194 degrees F. And video cards usually run even a little hotter than that.

Typically, as long as you have a reasonably good airflow through the case, a room temperature of 90 to 95 F is not going to be that big a deal; the fans will spool up, and will blow harder than they would in a cooler room, but will normally keep the operating temps within the normal range. If you can stand being in the room, as long as your cooling solutions are working correctly, the PC should be fine. (note, of course, that the PC will make the room much less comfortable if you don't have some way to exhaust its heat to the outside.)

You can monitor CPU temps with CoreTemp and the Intel Burn Test. As long as your CPU temps stay at 85 or below, you're okay. Cooler is better, but 85 is acceptable. The throttling doesn't start until 90, and you won't actually do any damage until 100, which should be physically impossible, because the CPU should prevent itself from ever exceeding 90.

(I think maybe the chips after Sandy Bridge go to 95 and 105, but 85 is still a good working 'emergency' level.)

I'm not as familiar with how to monitor GPUs, because I don't overclock them, and thus don't monitor them that closely. Furmark, which stresses the hell out of a GPU, will tell you what its temps are during its benchmark run. I believe the usual limits there are about 90C, but I don't have that knowledge at the front of my brain in the same way. Pay attention to anyone else who chimes in, because they probably know more than I do.

MSI Afterburner is my go to for all things GPU. You don't need to overclock with it to use it and it has a nifty feature that lets you set your fan speeds at different temps. So, if you have a noisier card like I do that's an extremely useful feature.

Regardless, it allows you to overclock if you want (no need, imho) but it'll also measure temps and fan speed.